Review: Motorola S9 Bluetooth Stereo Headphones/Headset

By Remik Szul on 2 Oct 2007 10:16 am EDT

Motorola S9 Bluetooth Headset

Wireless Music with Lightweight Design for Active Individuals
The Motorola S9s are geared towards active BlackBerry and Bluetooth device users. Providing lightweight, water and sweat resistant technology that allow you to use your BlackBerry, or any other Bluetooth device for that matter with ease without getting tangled in cords. Trying to run on a treadmill at the gym with regular ear bud corded headphones can get quite annoying at times. Perhaps it’s the fact that the cord is not long enough to be able to place your device on the treadmill and run freely without the cord getting in the way every time you take a stride. The technology is here, so going cordless seems like the perfect fit. At $74.95 the Motorola S9s come priced comparable to other headsets on the market (slightly under), such as the Samsung SBH170 which are available for $89.95 and are slightly less expensive than the Sony Ericsson HBH-DS970 which are $119.99.

Opening the Box
The S9s comes in a simple box, nothing flashy like some of the museum glass case headset setups I’ve seen some of the recently-reviewed Bluetooth headsets come in. Which is fine, you’re not buying the box, but what’s inside. It’s a simple to open box, no need to rip or cut anything up to get to the goods. Once you open up the box you see the nice two tone red and black headset. Picking it up you instantly notice the fact it weighs barely one ounce. Also in the box come two other interchangeable ear bud sets allowing you to find the perfect fit for comfort. Lastly, you also get standard instruction booklets and a wall charger to give your headset juice. The S9s do not come pre-charged out of the box, so you will need to charge them before use. Plugging the headset in will reveal a red light which indicates the battery level is below 25%. Once the battery is charged above 25% the light turns to orange. Finally, once the battery is fully charged you get the green light meaning you are good to go. Full charging time is noted to be about 2 hours by Motorola.

Motorola S9 Box - front

Motorola S9 Box - back

Motorola S9s - Unboxed

Technical Specs Summary:

  •  2 hour charge time
  • 6 hours music playback time
  • 7 hours talk time
  • 150 hours of standby time
  • 1.3cm Speakers
  • Headset size: 4.96 x 5.11 x 1.89 inches
  • Headset weight: 1.14oz.

Set Up/Compatibility
Setting up the Motorola S9 headset was incredible easy, even for a fairly new CrackBerry like me. Simply turn on the headset by holding the power button that’s on the back. You will hear a pleasant low key beep and a blue light indicating the headset is on and active will appear. Scroll over to the Set Up Bluetooth icon on your BlackBerry’s desktop and click ok to the “Please ensure your Bluetooth device is in pairing mode” prompt that pops up. Once your BlackBerry finds the S9s and the connect button is clicked, it will ask you for the passkey. Enter the standard 0000 and you’re all done - your BlackBerry should now be paired with the headset! While pairing the device to a BlackBerry Curve, BlackBerry Pearl and BlackBerry 8830 worked flawlessly each time, I did have some problems connecting the S9’s to a PlayStation 3. The gaming system did find and recognize the S9’s but for some reason would not pair with them. I tried to do some research but could only find others asking the question whether they would work or not before they buy them. So although I’m sure the majority of you reading this review would use the Motorola S9’s with your BlackBerry, I would research the specific non-BlackBerry Bluetooth devices you may also want to use the S9s with for compatibility first.

Now for the downside of the Motorola S9s. In order to listen to streaming music through the headphones, A2DP support is required on the handheld. At the time of this writing, that means only the BlackBerry Curve can realize the full potential of the S9s. While other BlackBerrys can still pair with the S9s for use as a regular Bluetooth headset, only the Curve can listen to music. 

Fit and Comfort
Putting on the S9 headset feels a bit awkward at first; it actually brought back memories of playing with a stethoscope as a child. Getting the headset on with ease takes some practice, but once they are in place the S9 headset does a great job of staying there, even as you run around. They also did not seem like the most comfortable headphones to wear at first, but I honestly caught myself forgetting about them on my head, and in my books that really points out their efficiency at being discrete and comfortable. Motorola did a great job on designing the headset. I leant the headset out to a few friends, and they all reported back that the S9s were very comfortable to use and wear for long periods of time. The stock mounted ear buds worked great for me, should they not work well for you, included are two other sized ear buds that will hopefully fit you better.


After a While I Forgot I was Wearing Them

Wearing the S9s - rear profile

The S9 has user controls just to the side of the earpiece. They are: a music button used to play, pause and stop music, as well as skip to the next or previous music track. There are also volume controls to increase and decrease volume for your music or calls, and a call button used to answer and end calls. It takes a bit of use to memorize the button lay out to execute commands on the fly without thinking, but it isn’t as impossible learning task to achieve. I had to take the headset off a few times to see the buttons because I kept forgetting the layout. Pushing buttons that are on the side of your head is not the simplest thing to do when the buttons are super tiny, but I guess with such a tiny device there aren’t too many great ways to mount buttons on the headset while keeping the device sleek and lightweight. It probably won’t help if you have chubbier fingers. If you’re an old dog that doesn’t like learning new tricks, you may find it easier to change tracks and adjust volume using the BlackBerry, which I found myself doing from time to time. Like most other headsets the S9’s will pause your music when there is a call coming in, and resume music once your call is complete. I LOVE that feature! The headphones also only output sound for calls from the left ear bud, because most headsets are meant for car use, and it would not be a good idea, or even legal to block your hearing from both ears while driving incase there is a emergency vehicle coming.

Volume Up/Down and Telephone Answer/End
& Activate Voice Dialing Controls

Play/Pause and Forward/Back Controls for Listening to Music

Power Button, LED indicator, and Charging Port
The Charging port is a Standard USB Connection, so you can use
the same cord to charge your S9s as you do your BlackBerry!

Motorola claims the battery life of the S9’s to be around 6 hours of music listening, and 7 hours of phone talk time. I researched some of the other Bluetooth headphones out on the market right now, and these headphones actually had the worst claimed battery life. Other headsets all ranged between 8-16 hours of music playtime, with most averaging about 12. So sadly, if you are someone who gets to listen to music all day at work, and you work a regular 8 hour shift, you might have to go an hour or two a day without your music.

Sound Quality
I was actually surprised (very impressed) by the quality of sound from the headset. MP3 files being played from a BlackBerry were loud, and crisp. There was no distortion coming from the S9s when listening to different genres of music (from Hip Hop to Country) at varying volume levels. Even when played at max volume, which is more than loud enough, the S9s held their clarity. Perhaps the shorter battery life (when compared to some of the competition) is the necessary consequence of having excellent sound quality.

I also tested out the sound/voice quality on telephone calls, curious to see how clearly individuals on the other end of the line would hear me. With no visible microphone pick-up located near the mouth, I actually didn’t even believe that the S9’s could be used for a phone call. I was wrong! The sound quality I was receiving was crisp and clear, and on the other end not one caller was even able to tell I was using a headset.

In addition to sound quality, I was also impressed with the overall construction, design and durability of the Motorola S9s. The headphones themselves felt very firm and solid, and I lugged them around in my laptop bag without any casing or packaging and never worried they would bend or break.

The S9’s are a great headset built with outstanding quality. The sound quality took me by surprise, music and voices played loud and crisp without distortion. Although the battery life could still use an hour or two of improvement, overall I would recommend anyone looking for a great headset to consider these. If you are an active individual and want to use your phone at the gym or while working, you won’t be disappointed with the S9s. At $99.95 per unit they are also affordable and priced well against their competition.

S9 Review Summary:
Motorola S9 Bluetooth Stereo Headphones/Headset


  • Lightweight
  • Stylish design and colors
  • Great Sound Quality!


  • Only streams music to devices equipped with A2DP support - a.k.a BlackBerry Curve
  • Battery life could be better
  • Had problems pairing with PlayStation 3
  • Side controls take some getting use to
Buy Now:
Purchase the Motorola S9 Bluetooth Headset in the Store

Reader comments

Review: Motorola S9 Bluetooth Stereo Headphones/Headset


Right, but apparently they are not. Check out the reviews on A whole bunch of people have fried theirs by sweating during workout. You'll hear the volume automatically start to change, like you are pressing the volume up / down button and holding it in. And that will be all she wrote.

I have to say after a couple of visit to the gym with them they are by far the best headphones I've ever used. I bet people think I'm adjusting my headphones rather frequently, but really I'm just changing songs with the touch of a button (it did take a couple of tries to get used to it but once you feel where it's raised and remember which is forward a track and which is back a track it's simple). Once I get a nice gym playlist together for my BB I'll be completely set. I haven't had issues with the battery but I generally am at the gym for only an hour or two so a 6 hour battery life won't bother me. Just remember to turn your device on and off when you're using it or done with it and the battery should last most people. Also, since it's Motorola it uses the mini USB charger so it's compatible with the BB 8830 charger as well. I think most people will definitely be happy with the S9. There are few technological products for $100 that i'd recommend to everyone but this is definitely one that I don't think anyone will be dissappointed with.

Bought new on ebay two weeks ago and it works great. I have had no problem with sweating and use. I have moved 20 ft from BB and never missed a sound.

I bought my S9's right before leaving on a business trip and haven't had time to play with them a lot, but it isn't as easy as I hoped. Once paired they immediately available for phone use, but I am having problems using them with the media player. Any quick hints or tricks? They are not even an option within the menu of the media player.


I too have been unable to hear music through the rokr S9... Phone works GREAT but no Music. I tried the included media player and recently x player, but still music.

Reading the review make the unit sound great for being headphones.
I'm curious to see how it is for taking calls.
The article says it mutes the music but does this unit have a built in mic?
Do you stand there listening to the headset and yelling at your BB??
Can someone chime in on this.?


So does this unit have a mic to assist in taking and making calls?
Or do you have to remove the unit and use your handset.?

I generally am very pleased with my S9s in terms of comfort and ease of handling phone calls but I can not get past the constant skipping during playback of sings vis the Media Player. It actually seems to be getting worse and now takes place even when the phone is sitting still rather than when I am running and moving the phone all over.

I have seen some references to the skipping with the S9, but no definitive answer to the issue.

I've used 2 different s9s on my 8300 and they both worked flawlessly. I suggest you to try your headset on another 83xx series device first.

In response to the people asking about the mic, it is built into the left ear speaker, where the phone and volume controls are located. People tell me it sounds like I'm talking to them on a land line..... not a cell phone. It's very clear.

The 8830WE now supports stereo Bluetooth with the latest software update from Verizon Wireless. Once in a while there is a music skip but it is very short.

Nice addition to the Blackberry for MP3 play.

the mic from the s9 actually draws your voice through your ear canal when you wear it, that's why it is able to block out external noises and deliver crystal clear voice when you talk.

Wait a minute. Let me get that red/yellow/green battery
light business straight. So you're supposed to walk
around with a traffic light hanging on your nape and
advertising to thieves half a mile away that you're
wearing Bluetooth gear? And there is a blue light too
when the device is paired? You've got to be kidding.

And that idea about output sound on the left ear only
during calls because most headsets are meant for car
use? And it would not be a good idea or even legal to
block your hearing from both ears while driving? Hello?!!!
People will be listening to stereo music most of the
time! While driving too! And you said that this bad boy
can output some serious volume. How can stereo phone
calls be any worse to driving and safety than LOUD

Amazing how companies can consistently ruin good
products with dumb design of details.

In most states (mine anyway), a legal hands-free communication device must output out of one ear. This is why the S9 switches to one-ear mode when placing a call. Of course, law enforcement really can't tell if you are on the phone or listening to music through the headphones. The S9 should be used responsibly, just as a responsible driver would keep their car stereo at a reasonable level, so they can pay attention to their surroundings.

I wouldnt worry too much about the traffic lights problem, I had the same fear but the light lies on your neck just out of sight so its all good I shouldnt worry, and for the part about the ps3, Try putting the headphones ONTOP! of the PlayStation then see if the results are better, Bril Headphones, Shame about the battery life and the bluetooth connection lack sometimes, I get a delay occasionally halfway through song or a jump. Other than that, I love em!

If you hold down the pause/play button when powering up the device, you turn off the light show.

I have owned these for about a week now and am starting to wonder how I ever did without them.

I listen to music all day and then my phone cuts in with a call when necessary... the ipod (yes, I use it with an ipod and a phone at the same time) pauses when the call comes in (works the same way when listening to tunes from my computer as well) and then I hit play when the call is done and I am back to my music source.

Haven't had a chance to get them sweaty yet, but they feel solid.

Some people are just stupid AKA luc-mobile. This is for people on the go and wanna enjoy music. If your in the car Why would you wannna use this when your car sound system will be a lot better. If your sooo worry about some one jacking your head set you should not even have a cell in the first place or a wallet. Just shut up and make your to lock all 4 locks on your door :)
By the way this is a great product.

i agree, if ur a wimp and gets robbed all the time or scared of gettin robbed then dont have any technology on u at all oh and money, well ur clothes 2 coz robbers do rob ur trainers etc...

any idea why sometimes when it connects to the s9's it only conects to the hands free feature(phone) and not the headset feature(music)I had it working through both but now only handfree mode!?
when the s9 connects a screen prompt comes up as connected-hands free with a checkmark.
I want it to also say headset
As i stated I did have both.any ideas what happened?
My device is a brand new BB curve

First I had music and no phone.. now I have phone and no music.

Yesterday was first day with these and I had both music and phone just fine..

Battery life seems shortish at maybe just 2 to 3 hours.

And comfort is not that great for a big bone head like me. Need to be expandable a bit.

DON'T like the phone in left ear only... I bought these to hear callers when hearing them was hard. I'm goin to return them.

I too have been now relegated to only music/media player through my S9s and can't make phone calls through my BB Curve. It appears that I lost some of the capability on the Curve's bluetooth config.

Does anyone have any guidance on how to resolve this issue?

Hello, I have read many reviews praising these Bluetooth Headphones for their sound quality and fit, but I wear glasses and was wondering if they would affect how they fit. Perhaps the reviewer can put on some sunshades and then try them on and tell how they fit then.


The fit while wearing my sunglasses isn't as secure feeling...I can hear more ambient noise. But they are still good

A few comments on the Motorokr s9 and BB Curve 8300 -

-Overall sound: Outstanding! The Bass ROCKS, the sound is very full

-Eye/sunglasses: The headphone do NOT coexist with eye or sunglasses - the fit is a bit uncomfortable.

-Video/Movie playback: For some reason the headphones do NOT work with video playback on my Curve - Audio playback is superb

- Other Berrys: The Motorokr s9 will ONLY work with the Curve to listen to mp3s (No Pearl, haven't tested 8800)

Can anyone verify whether they can hear sound from video/movie playback?

no streaming audio from videos here...mp4s converted from avis using roxio. i like watching some episodes of my favorite series on the curve, but not being able to use my s9 for the task makes me carry a corded headset on my backpack which SUCKS.

by the way, i bought an s9 on launch. it worked for one full year, and then all the tap sensitive buttons began to fail until all i got left was the "decrease volume" button working... had to dump it. I got a new one from a friend, if this one lasts only for one year i'm really going to reconsider this brand. it is a perfect device, the only problem is the lifetime on it, at least that's the impression i got from my first experience.

Research in motion, please add a2dp support for mp4 playback on your 4.3 OS. At least get it ready for the blackberry 9000 series, thats an iphone killer feature you MUST have, since iphones are still a2dp-less for music/video playback.

I got totally surprised with this Christmas morning and was even more surprised when it actually worked very well with my Verizon World Edition BB. I had about 15 songs on a 2GB microSD card, thinking it would be a waste because I was under the impression the 8830 did not support a stereo BT profile. I was ready to stick with my Moto Q. Surprise! I paired it up with the 8830 without a hitch.

The sound is very good and I like them a lot. My kids said the sound quality of the microphone during phone calls was fine.

I do have to agree with an earlier post regarding eyeglasses. In defense of the S9, my eyeglass frames are from Orgreen, a Danish design that has a great look, but really don't work well with ball caps, either. Thank goodness my eyesight isn't so terrible I can do without if I need to.

I recommend the headset. I'm going to try them with my MacBook next.

Work great, held up to being cold and wet as I cleaned up the foot of snow we got. If you have a long hippy hairdo or like pony tails & mullets these will not work for you.
I have a big head and these work fine.
(keeping my receipt in case of failure though!-)

For some reason my the s9 controls do not work with my 8830? no stop/pause, advance functins? Do others have this problem?

I have the same problem. volume up/down, and place call buttons do work on my 8830. other buttons do not, but everything works fine when paired to an LG Chocolate 8500.

When I first got the S9 all buttons work, but then just the other day the volume + stopped working so even if I have the volume all the way up I cannot hear anything. Does anyone know what I could do? Any help would be appreciated.

I can vouch for the fact that the S9's are vulnderable to sweat. I have been through four (4) pairs (exhanging them at best buy, radio shack, etc. under warranty) as I use them at the gym frequently they would fail quickly within three (3) weeks. One button would stop working and then another. Then one would jam and I'D head an incessant beeping. (My last pair is still in my gym bag - just to remind me how upset I am).

I now use a philipss dongle type - it hasn't failed yet - 6 months going strong.

What galls me is that they advertise it as waterproof!

One of my employees uses the S9 with his BB Pearl (Verizon) and has no problem listening to music all day!

They work great INDOORS. But go outside and it breaks up if you don't have it ABOVE Waste-Level. So it needs to be within 2 feet of the unit to keep the signal (with a Blackberry curve). Mine has a (dead) green LED light, so mine is purple when charging and blue when Charged (whatever). The buttons are hard to find (when wearing) and the sound is like a $5 AM radio. (Expect No Bass whatsoever). And sometimes I can't get them to charge at all. The connector plug is very fickle occasionally. But other than that, they are great.

It was a nice first attempt (cool design for outdoor activities) But it dosn't work well outdoors!. Save your money and wait for the next generation of these.

Sorry to be the wet blanket, I really wanted to love these!

I have had my pair for over a year now and have actually been through three different phones: Motorola Razr, Samsung SCH-u520 and currently a Nokia 5300. After nearly a year of listening to music on the headphones on the first two, I was shocked when I paired it with the 5300 and started the music player. The tones were deep and very clear. Turns out, it really depends on the quality of the phone and not so much the headphones, go figure!

i got the macbook 5th gen...
but.. cannot connect with macbook..
of cause perfactly work it with my V9MLE...

if someone success to connect it..

please leave your message... please...

I have a BB 8800 from Tmobile, and I hear the phone, but not the music. I read somewhere downloading the new OS 4.3 would enable MP3's to be heard over the S9. Can anyone help me with that? or how do I download the OS 4.3?


I bought these at my local Verizon store to test them out so that if I didn't like them I could get a full refund and not lose shipping costs.

I did like the wireless music, had no trouble with the touch buttons, and enjoyed the overall sound quality.

Did not like the way the headset distorted my tunes when I had my BB in my pocket and went out of doors. Also, if you move your BB handheld around too much, it breaks up.

Returning the headset today with no intentions of purchasing another

I have an S9 and I woke up this morning to wear them to class and they are not showing their full functionality that they had last week and earlier this week. I've had them for 1(one) week and used it 6 times at most.

The only thing that i can think that got them is the rain but i can still change songs but i don't have audio playback.

Anyone know a solution? I would love to hear it rather than return them to Amazon.

Like many my motorola was working fine and great for outdoor activities then suddenly only started working on handsfree for Phone and no music headset. Does nayone yet know how to fix this?


I am considering buying one or the other s9 or s9-hd. Is the difference in price worth the newer model. Should i stay with the s9 i have found them for around 48.00 and the s9-hd with the ipod adapter for 90.00. Both are brand new. I have the new bb storm.

Went to best buy $96 Verizon $119 (89 with my company corporate discount) then I find it on amazon and newegg under $50, definitely shop this one around.

I have had the s9s for a little over a week and they wont work well outside for music and if my Storm is in my pocket I cant lay down without loosing signal. I got these with the purpose of working out with them and Im gonna take them back because it is just not reliable. Can anyone suggest a better set?

The S9s do not stream any music on the 8830! If you can force it to work any speeds up play before failing! I've tried several different pairs thinking it was the headphones. Will not work on Pandora, Iheart or RadioCompanion etc. If you have downloaded music it is fine. If your wanting internet radio forget about it.

In the past 12 months i've purchased Both the Red and Black Motorola headsets. When i'm either walking, on the train or bus the sound goes in and out, meaning the song would play then you wont hear a few seconds of sound then it comes back. I'v used both Blackberry 8830 and Storm with Verizon, and NetBook. Jabra Bluetooth Headsets work much better (BT3030 and BT620).

No issues with the 8530. It plays fine in the native MP3 Player and video players. Pandora had to be set up in the options menu and iHeart Radio has partial functionality with this headset. These however are software issues.

I worry about getting it wet, but for for $48 at Amazon it was a good choice. They sound much better than I expected. I don't like how they drop down to one speaker for phone calls. I like the "Stereo" phone calls in my noisy truck. Yes, I understand why they did it. I just wish they hadn't.

Hi, Please tell me how can i connect with my windows xp os computer... does it support to the computer...??? please help me.. please